Few lecturers inspire with their calm and ease as Dr Harkant Mankad. The three hour lecture passed by, and I remained seated for how long I do not recall even as the great man exited the hall.
The composed, focused and thought provoking content of economics delivered at an almost luxurious pace is testimony enough of the grey haired man’s resolve. There comes a time, when a student comes across a teacher he would wish to emulate, today was that day for a great many ‘great lakers’. His compelling quality in deliverance coupled with an almost intangible security, an assuredness that he would let the thoughts settle in all by themselves, that he would not weigh them upon us added a flavor of trust.
Even a good lecture has only few moments of stealing curiosity on the part of the student that precedes affirming and revelatory notes offered by the lecturer. A great lecture has the revelatory notes packed so closely together in it that the student is suffocated with the failure to apprehend the substance in entirety. A truly magical lecturer is at ease, puts the student at ease, establishes connection at the lowest terms of economic reciprocation and adds value to the bridge of the connection as the lecture proceeds. By the end of the lecture, the weight of the concrete connection casts a shadow of delight on the student and the student rests under the shadow for a greater part of the student-teacher relationship. Today’s lecture was this and much more.
“It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” -Bertrand Russell.
In Dr Harkant Mankad’s economics, rationality is explored to the limits of illimitable stretches; in his economics rationality fails to find a place. In his economics, rationality is dethroned and is replaced by an innocuous facility ‘sentiment’. He holds the ‘micro economic anatomy’ in his ‘market’ and strips it conveniently until the exposed ‘sentimentality’ is stripped to a bare minimum- nubile flesh. He calls it ‘irrationality’.
His contention that the ‘odyssey generation’ fails to acknowledge the passage of time and that the whole generation unanimously refuses to admit adulthood, his explorations into the ideological differences between the two generations, all of these could have been misunderstood as philosophical inquiries, if not for his talismanic abilities to weave the net with micro economics.
The generation that refuses to give up-one that he belongs to- for him is a representation of a pool of burgeoning ‘purchasing power’. The demographic imbalances in the north and south India are for him are mere distribution of power on the former (owing to the overwhelming population numbers) and distribution of prosperity on the later.
We are a generation of men and women dragging ourselves to the shopping malls.
‘Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes’ -Chuck Palahniuk.
But, for Dr Harkant Mankad, it is demand that chases purchasing power, it is value of money that chases prizes.